Category Archives: career change

Smooth Out Your Resume

I read resumes for a living.  I read other stuff too but resumes are the main focus during the day (and sometimes evenings, much to my husband’s consternation).

It never gets boring, Each resume, like each person, is interesting and unique. People take different paths to the same role, have different educational chapters and insert more or less of themselves in their resume.

BUT

  • Spelling mistakes
  • Fonts with curly cues
  • Indented boxes and sidebars that get mangled by my software
  • Leaving out dates or titles
  • Not describing the scope and scale of an employer
  • Squishing in too much information by using narrow margins and 8 pt letters
  • 20 bullets for one role and only three for the others
  • Acronyms that are not widely understood

These are all things that take away from the positive impression that your resume is supposed to provide. It’s as if you are strolling along and you suddenly trip on the rug.  Once you recover, it can be hard to remember what you thinking about before.

So before you send me your resume, have someone read it for you.  Ask them if it’s smooth.  They make look at you funny but it will give them a constructive perspective which should generate good, usable feedback.

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Filed under career change, Job Search, Resume

Spring Cleaning for your Resume

Pandemic or not, the warm breezes of spring will arrive over the next few weeks and if you are like me, you will spend some time working on projects around the house.  Maybe switching your clothes around.  Moving the golf shirts and flower printed yoga pants to the front and shoving all the black yoga pants into a box in the garage .  Maybe cleaning up the back yard.  Those are the kinds of things we like to do in spring.

It is not just your home that should be sorted and updated.  Your resume should be refreshed too.

It may not be as important as your changing the batteries in your smoke detector, but in terms of your career, it should be right up near the top of the list.

Here are the things to consider:

Has your title changed?shirt

Has the scope of your role  changed?

Did you take any courses or workshops over the winter?

How about any special projects?

Any new volunteer committees or fund raising initiatives?

Once your resume is refreshed make sure it is stored in a place that’s easily retrievable, like Dropbox.   Once that’s done, you might want to apply the same logic to your LinkedIn profile.  Make sure it is a really good reflection of where you are and what you are doing.

And if you have a few minutes at work, find all those emails that say “thank you” and “you’re a star”.  Email them to your personal account and then print them and take them home.  You just never know when you are going to need a little pick-me-up or evidence of your great work.

So put on your favourite spring shirt and get to it!

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Filed under career change, Job Search, linkedin, Resume, social media, Uncategorized

Prescription for a Job Change

If you are thinking about making a job change, consider the old adage:  fish where the fish are.

Consider what it is that you want to do next and then think about where the people are who are doing that thing now.  Better yet, figure out who is doing it now and has a big problem.  The very kind of problem that you know how to fix.

Imagine you have decided that you want to move from the inside customer service team to an outside sales role.  You have been feeling hemmed in lately, talking with the same people over and over. You want to shift to finding new customers and bringing them into the fold.

How about this?  Look for a company that has a product that’s the same or similar to yours and then drill down to find trouble.

Trouble could be in the form of a growth spike, changing market conditions or a new product family.  These are all challenges for company leaders and while they may present great opportunities for the company, they also create pain points for leaders.  Leaders want to relieve pain.  Figure out how to market yourself as the prescription to alleviate that pain.

Use LinkedIn, company websites and your personal network to identify who is suffering right now from not having you on their team. Craft a short but compelling message.

I have been listening to customers like yours for years.  I know what they need and how to package your product so that it provides a solution that fits.  Could you use someone like me in the field?

Just attach your resume and hit send.

There is certainly no guarantee that one email will start a conversation but it’s a good start.

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Filed under career change, Job Search, linkedin, Networking

Focus on your Goals – Especially Now

You might not have noticed but we are just about finished with January.   Yep…..that was fast.  Apparently, time flies especially quickly when it is dark and cold outside and we are stuck in our homes.

Did you set some goals for 2021?  It might have been in the fog of New Year’s morning or the marathon of DIY shows over Christmas.  Do you remember those goals?

Once you get into the flurry of everyday life, it can be hard to even remember the special things you wanted to do, let alone focus on getting them done.

I learned a neat trick from one of the great people I volunteer with (yet another reason to put up your hand and volunteer!).  I commented on her aggressive development plans for the year and she said that she learned long ago to use the B-HAG method.

Excuse me?

Was she calling me a hag?  And if so, how did she know?  We had not known each other that long…..IMG_5475

No, not at all.  B-HAG stands for big, hairy, audacious goal.  She said the idea is to make sure you think of it every day and work to make advancements, no matter how small, every day.

She even has a B-HAG pet. (image on right)  It’s a little, furry thing that sits on her desk.  When her eyes fall on it, she is reminded about those goals.  Also, when people come into to her work area and ask her about it, she gets another opportunity to describe the things she is working on.

She said it worked really well last year and so to up the ante and keep it effective, she is going to move it around her office.  A bit like Elf on a Shelf.  It will have eyes on her all the time.

In the end, it does not matter how you do it.  You just need to make sure that you have something or someone that continues to remind you why you need to do just one more thing before lunch, bed or wine.

Good luck!

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Secrets of Pandemic Networking

I talked to a lot of job seekers in December.  The conversations revealed that one of the challenges they were facing was the inability to network because of the of in-person opportunity to meet were cut off.

I think the opposite it true.  There are way more opportunities and people have much more flexibility now that they are in work from home mode.

Refreshing a connection with people you know is just as easy as ever.  Send a text or an email saying how great it would be to catch up and ask for some potential time slots.  Set up a zoom invite and there you are.  Not complicated at all.

Hi Mary – I know we haven’t spoken since we worked together.  It would be great to catch and reminisce. Do you want to have coffee over Zoom later this week?

Making a new connection with someone you don’t know is, frankly, not any different than it was before. Figure out what you have in common.  Maybe you know the same people or you work in the same industry or you kids played for the same soccer coach.  Send a note mentioning the connection and why you want to connect and them set up time for a call. 

Hi Bob – Not sure if you remember but I was in your dance class last winter.  I saw the article about your recent retirement and wondered if you might take a few moments to give some insights in the industry.  I’d be happy to send a Zoom invite at a time that works for you.

And finding new people to connect with is becoming easier.  I have attended a bunch of virtual conferences and they are getting better and better.  They are not hard to navigate and offer “rooms” to meet the speakers and other delegates and directories of the attendees with their details. 

The other neat thing is that because the conferences no longer have the time and expense of travel, more people are attending.  They are great forums for finding new people to help advance your knowledge and your career.

The bottom line is that there are more chances than ever to refresh connections and make new ones.

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Filed under career change, Networking

And for my next act….

Because December 25th falls on a Friday this year, most of us will have not much time off before Christmas and quite a bit of time around the new year.  That’s when people typically lie around thinking about what they will change.

For a lot of people, the number one thing they want to get or change is their job.  On second thought, perhaps this will be second to losing weight – that always seems to be a hot resolution. (I’ve heard.)

Go ahead and dream but try to be realistic.

Just because your uncle is a doctor, does not mean you can be a medical device account manager.

Plumbing your own laundry room sink, does not qualify you to be a piping designer.

Planning office parties is not a prequel to becoming a project manager.

Don’t assume your neighbour can get you a job just because he works in a big company.

I’m not even going to comment about people who like karaoke…..

I don’t want to be a downer before 2021 has even started, but try not to stray too far off the path.  Try this:  mention your next career goal to your dog.  If he looks at you funny, you have definitely gone too far.

Run it by a good friend.  If they seem kind of puzzled but supportive, then you may be on to something.

Finally, talk to someone in the field and see what they say.  If they seem to think that the transition is plausible, then sit down and make a plan.

Change is afoot!

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Filed under career change, Job Search, Resume

Hiring Does Not Stop for the Holidays

Every year, I remind people that hiring does not stop for the holidays.  It’s a perceived notion that no one makes hiring decisions after Dec 10th.  This is not true most years and it will not be true this year.

The thing that typically gets in the way of hiring in December is decision maker’s travel and vacation itineraries and  frankly, holiday obligations.  Wining, dining and corporate parties all take time on the calendar.  This year, there will still be holiday parties but they will be shorter and require no travel time.  They also will probably not induce the same kinds of hangovers as the usual in person soirees.

As leaders recognize that our current work patterns will continue into next year, hiring decisions that they have been putting off, are going to become more pressing. 

There are quite a few industries that are hiring vigrourously – you just have to look for them.

  • Software companies that provide anything to do with office communications
  • Online Retailers like Amazon and Wayfair
  • Food manufacturing and grocers
  • Home exercise equipment and online exercise classes and nutrition coaching
  • Household products that clean and beautify
  • Gaming/Streaming/Online Entertainment

As the companies in theses spaces grow, they need people in all areas of the business.  Grocers don’t just hire cashiers.  They also need people in product development, distribution, finance, HR and all the other departments. 

Don’t assume that because you are not a gamer or an engineer, that there would not be a place for you in a gaming organization.  I am sure there are plenty of people who can’t drive who work at Uber and overweight people who work at Peleton.

These can be great places to take your career right now.  The skills and experiences you gain in a fast growth company are amazing and often come with lucrative pay, perks and bonuses.

So, if you need or want a new role to be in your future, roll up your sleeves and take off the blinders.  There is lots going on.  You just have to find it.

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Resume Refresh Tips

We need good resumes now more than ever.  If you have not refreshed your resume for more than six months, you should find it this weekend and take a look.  Here are five tips to keep in mind.

Save it as a pdf.  This is one of the options when you choose where to print your document.  A pdf can’t be altered by anyone (unless they have very expensive software) and if there are any words that Microsoft does not recognize, no can tell.  Pdfs don’t have funny red squiggles under any words to distract the reader.

Use a plain font.  It can be more modern or spacious, but keep it clean.  Avoid those tiny tails on the letters– it’s just too hard to read on the screen. And remember, Comic Sans is only for comic artists, not for anything corporate.

A resume can be two OR three pages.  If you graduated less than 15 years ago, two pages is fine.  If you have more experience than that, go ahead and use three pages.  There is no law against that.  It’s the first half of the first page that determines if the reader turns to the second page let alone the third page.

The first page has to have a lot of impact.  It needs to include what you do, where you do it, where you are geographically and how to get in touch with you.  Make certain you have covered those items and then fill in the rest of the details. 

Don’t succumb to the narrow margin trick.  If you have that much to say, then take it to the next page.  Don’t make the reader suffer and squint.  But make sure every word is important and necessary.  Resumes are not for blathering.  They are meant to tease the reader so that they want to call you up for more details.

Finally, always make sure someone who is not a relative or married to you does the final proof read.  You need someone who is not invested in your career success to give it the hairy eyeball and make sure there are no mistakes.

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Filed under career change, Resume

How External Recruiters Help with Diversity

One of the best ways to change up your work groups and increase the diversity of your company is to use external recruiters and I am not just saying that because I am an external recruiter.
When you work with someone outside your company, you focused on describing what the new person is going to do and where they fit into the greater scheme of things.
You talk about the activities, responsibilities and leadership style, their technical knowledge and priorities.

The external recruiter does not know that people in your organization all went to Stanford and all play broom ball.

So the recruiter hits the candidate marketplace and starts talking about your company and the great things that are happening and within a few weeks, you have a fresh, new group of candidates who would not have applied to your posting or been a part of your employees’ networks.

There is going to be some new thinking in that group. It can be a pretty interesting experience to interview someone who understands the role but is from a different environment.

Those candidates have credibility but none of the baggage. This can be a tremendous help with innovation based roles or where a group has become a bit complacent.

The key is to keep an open mind when you are interviewing. Review your questions before hand. Be sure to spell out company specific acronyms or processes so the candidates have a fair chance to answer within the right context.

When you find the gem and hire them, make sure you have a very inclusive, comprehensive on-boarding process. Hiring managers and peers alike sometimes need to be reminded that even though someone can’t play broom ball, they can still contribute some great ideas.

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Filed under career change, Interview, Job Search, recruiter, Uncategorized

Anxiety About the Future of Work

I have been reading a lot about job trends and what our work lives will be like in the future.  This is, as you would expect, something I have always done but it all has a new tone now.  Nothing like a pamdemic to speed up innovation tenfold.  It is fascinating to see the broad spectrum of opinion about this.  Some people think that robots and AI will eliminate all work as we know it.  Others think that robots and technology will enhance what we humans can do on our own and therefore make work better.

When I think back on my career in recruiting, I have the seen many of the benefits of technology.  I no longer have to stand beside  fax machine watching the pages pass through to make sure they don’t jam. I don’t have to flip through pages and pages of resumes in file folders  (that  were  never  in  the  right  order).  

Now, I can sit at a computer anywhere and have access to anything.  I can send information to a client or a candidate with the mere click of a button.

In the end, the process of what I do remains the same regardless of the state of technology.  I listen to what my client needs and then talk with lots of people until I find the right person with the right skills to fit the bill and find happiness.

Technology is  great enabler.  LinkedIn, Twitter and fancy databases provide easy access to all kinds of information but I still need critical thinking, writing and listening skills to do my job well.  Those cannot be replaced by any kind of AI.

When Apple and Microsoft first came out with programs like Word and Draw, we were suddenly able to make our work look totally professional.  My words looked like a manuscript. It was so cool.  It was a real come-down to realize that just because it looked like it had been published, did not make it publish-able.  It was still just words on a page by a budding recruiter.

The lesson here, is for all of us to continue to use our critical thinking skills to question how we use technology and to figure out to implement the new tools in the best way possible.

 

 

 

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